Words.

I was talking with a dear friend about words. Words are powerful. Words are more than mere mutterings, and they are more than symbols on a page. They are so much more. Words carry a lot of power. With your words you can literally mold your future.

Now I know what you are thinking; ‘Oh great she has jumped into the pool of coocooness and gone off the deep end!’ , or maybe; ‘Well that sounds like a bunch of poop. I am going to stop reading if she doesn’t start making sense.’ Well hang on a minute bear with me.

I have read many accounts of people who have said very specific things that seemed absurd and those things happened. For example I read about a father on the east coast who had a daughter that lost her ability to walk due to a car accident. He would often say, “I would give my right arm for my daughter to walk again.” One day he and his daughter were traveling and were in another accident. After all was said and done his daughter somehow regained the feeling in her legs and walked again, and he had lost his right arm in the accident. Spooky. Also I read about how Jim Carey would sit at a look out point in the Hollywood hills and picture millions of dollars coming to him. He did this when he was broke and his car was practically falling apart. He nor his car are no longer broke, and he continues to be one of the highest paid actors in tinsel town. What is the point am I saying? Am I saying that if I sit and visualize living on the moon someday I will live have a vacation home there? Maybe. What I am really poking at though is that words are powerful. What ever you say is what you life will look like. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” -Proverbs 23:7

Do you think to yourself ‘I can do this. I can do anything I put my mind to.’ Do you think, ‘I am a looser. No one likes me. I am not special, or talented.’ Do you think, ‘I am a failure. Things never work out for me.’ Do you think,’Everyone who meets me loves me. I am an amazing person.’ Whichever of these things you think you are right! Do you think you are the most freaking awesome person ever? You are right! Do you think you are the worst and no one really likes you? You are right! Do you know that happiness is a house you  and YOU alone can build?

Image result for happiness cartoon i made it myself

God gave us an amazing amount of power. When we join our life with His the amount of power is extravagant beyond human understanding, but all on our own with just the basic amount of pull He has endowed us all it is mind boggling. We have free will. He made us to be the master of our little pocket of the universe. That is what life is. When you were born you were given a small pocket of the universe to steward, shape and influence.

I don’t know about you but for most of my life I have been entirely oblivious to the glorious privilege that I have been given. Life is just… well life. I exist and I often take that for granted entirely. I never really thought about the amazing blessing that not only consciousness but life on earth actually is. Even when life is hard, even when life is pain, it is still devastatingly radiant. I have only lived about of a third of the time I will likely travel on this planet and it has already been one swirly, lovely, adrenaline laden, self expanding, mind bowing journey. I have been in some dark places in life, and I have also been in some overwhelmingly luminous ones. I have tasted, touched, heard, smelled and seen incredible things. I have loved, been loved, created, destroyed, traveled, been stationary, taken, given, hurt, healed, shrank, grown, sacrificed, risked, blessed, been blessed, read, learned, taught, listened, spoken, remained silent, roared, succeeded, failed, fallen, soared, climbed, slipped, fought, won, lost, breathed, and held my breath. I have made friends, and I have lost them. I have been present at the beginning of lives, and at the end lives. They are both filled with wonder. I think that as I stand here in the middle of my third decade spinning around the yellow star we call the sun my toes touch the threshold of an awareness that will forever change me.

God has given me many gifts. They are seemingly common. All people have them. I have the gift of words, time, choice, and life. I have for a time my own pocket of the universe to shape and influence. Within that pocket are all the people that love me and that I love. Also in the pocket are people that I know and know me to one depth or another. Every single thing I choose to say and do whether to myself or to them effects all of those people in some way or another. Even if I choose to stay in my house and never speak to anyone that effects people. I have realized that in life there is no such thing as a sure bet, or a safe one.

I have also realized that whatever story I tell myself is what I will live. If I tell myself I am no better than excrement and have nothing of value to offer than that is how I will live and everything I say will reflect that world view. If I hate myself everything I say and do will be mingled with that blackness. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” -Jesus

If however I learn to love, value and speak kindly to myself, and forgive easily my short comings that light and warmth will spill out of me as well. If I fill myself with the thoughts and love of my Maker how much more will I live? “I have come that you would have life, and life more abundant!” -Jesus

I have experienced abundant moments but I have yet to live an abundant life. I want that. I want abundant life. God has been showing me that all great change begins with small easy changes. For me the beginning of my trek towards abundant life looks like receiving the finished of the work of the cross, and changing my words. The Master of the universe gave me the life of His only son. It is not acceptable for me to say any destructive words about myself. It is not acceptable to hold myself hostage to any of my past sins. They are forgiven and that forgiveness is complete. It is not acceptable to tear and rip my self-worth apart every time I stumble or get stuck for a bit. It is not acceptable to pour poisonous words into my mind and heart about myself. All that God has for me is love, all He has for me is good. God is good. God is love. I want to be more like Him. He made me in His image and I need to be restored to a pure sate of that refection. Words are the beginning of that restoration.

I am a child of God. I am the child of the King of kings. I am loved. I am accepted in the Beloved. I am whole. I am filled with power. I am a child of God. I am not anything less.

Change your words, change your pocket of the universe.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2017

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Midnight

 Sometimes things do not turn out the way I want them to. Sometimes things don’t go the way I hope. Sometimes things happen that just plain suck.

Life has been rough for me lately. In fact 2015 was not a stellar year for me all around. It began and it ended with deep gut wrenching heartache. There was quite a lot of it in the middle too. I have been in some of the lowest low points I have ever been in… ever. I have made some really bad decisions. I have made some very tough decisions. I have suffered some big losses. In fact the person I was at the beginning of this year would at this point be throwing in the towel on life right about now. The person I am now though is not going to do that.

Some things in me are very different than they once were. I do admit I feel the familiar tug of self pity knocking on my heart’s door. However the person I am now knows better. For example I now know in my heart that in spite of how things may appear right now God is on my side. God is for me, God is fighting for me, and God is on time. I also know that even though I have suffered loss I am not a loser. I am not alone. I am not destroyed. I am not less. I am not desolate.

Sometimes life kicks me in the teeth. That is just what happens when living life in an imperfect world. This year life has kicked me in the teeth many times. Some of the times I brought the kick on myself, and sometimes I didn’t. The strange thing is that it still feels just as horrible when I brought it on myself as when I didn’t.

After this year I could go on and on about all the wrongs done to me, all the failures and defeats. I could lament and wail about the injustice of it all and ask, “why me? Why do I have to suffer on top of suffering?!” If I were to go into details I am sure most people would sympathize and understand why I would lament so. Oddly though, I have no desire for lamentations.

Do I feel all perky and awesome inside right now? No. No I do not. Even so I feel at peace. I feel loved and deeply grateful. God loves me a lot. God is looking out for me and saved me from certain and utter destruction. I have amazing people in my life who really, actually, really for real love and cherish me. Those people are looking out for me and are standing with me and are willing to go to bat for me if I need them to. I am surrounded on all sides but such real extravagant Love.

I will exit 2015 as I entered it: single. I will however exit 2015 much much differently than I entered it: single but not alone, single and deeply loved.

I may not have someone to kiss me at midnight, I may not have someone to make plans for the coming year with regarding a future together, I may not be planning my dream wedding in 2016, but I am not broken up about it. I have so many people who love me and, unlike at the beginning of this year, I see and hear them now. I may not get a smooch tonight, but I know that someone (probably more than one) will hug me at midnight, say I love you to me, and they will mean it. That is real, and it is more than enough. I am grateful.

Fast

imageIt is crazy how fast things can change. Life is life. Just a few weeks ago I thought the holidays were going to be a lot different this year. Turns out they will be pretty much the same as last year and the year before… well at least logistically speaking. I will still have a bare ring finger on my left hand. I will still have a Christmas tree decorated with the ornaments I grew up with. I will eat Christmas dinner at my momma’s house with my loved ones. I’ll wrap presents and feel so giddy that I think I will explode until I give them to the one they are meant for. I will go to church and I will sing carols and worship my King. I will be single. So much will be the same, yet everything will be completely different.

imageThis year I will look at this whole thing through a completely different lens. This year I will see Love. Love is real. Christmas isn’t about the trees and the presents (although those things are super amazingly fun), nor is it about the feast, or the time with loved ones. Those traditions are just part of the party! The thing Christmas is about is Love. Heaven came to earth. God wrapped Himself in humanity and made a way. He did ALL of that for ME.

This year as I do all of the traditional Christmassy things that I have done so many times before, yet everything will be different because I am different.

I know for the first time (maybe ever) that I am completely loved. I don’t just know that I am kinda loved, I know that I am completely, truly, deeply, really for real, loved. The God of the universe loved me so much that He gave up the throne made of galaxies, laid aside power that dwarfs super novae and became a naked squirming fragile human babe.

Nativity

When he came He didn’t come as just some ordinary human, no. He came as a son. Not an orphan, a son. He became a son so that I could become a daughter. He came and made it possible for us all to have the right to become sons and daughters of God! Wonders. Majesty! Glory. All set aside for the love of me. It’s all so incredible.

This Christmas I may still be single, and I may still have a lot more junk in my trunk than I would like. I may have less money in the bank than I would like, and I may not be exactly at the point in life that I want to be, but it doesn’t matter! Life is still beautiful. I am joyful in spite of the fact that I am smack dab in the middle of an epic battle. I am at peace. I am content even though my ducks aren’t all lined up. Why? I am joyful because I am loved by Abba. I am content because I am accepted by Daddy God. I am at peace because I am His. I am at peace because I am surrounded on all sides by love. So much love! My family (biological and spiritual) my friends, and my Daddy, everywhere I look I see Love. There is an ocean of love all around me and I am in over my head! It is wonderful. I am at peace because my Daddy fights my battles for me, and He wins!! Daddy God is Love and love always wins. Always.

He is so deeply good. ❤️

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

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Thankful

  

I have been traveling through a rough season lately. I have had to make hard decisions and stick to them even when I felt conflicted in my mind or my heart. They have been taking turns you see. 

I have had to say goodbye to one of my favorite students as she and her awesome momma have moved on to bigger and brighter things. I have snuggled with sniffly, coughing, snot-faced littles who miss their momma, and held a weeping precious angel who misses her daddy who is in heaven. My heart has had a lot of practice staying tender while also being strong. Life can sometimes feel like a three ringed circus. 

As I drove to work yesterday morning in the wonderful holiday traffic all of this, along with the fact that this will be the first Thanksgiving in my whole life I won’t see or at least talk to my dear grandpa hit my heart like an avalanche. ( I miss him so much as I wrote this I had to stop and dry my tears so I could see to continue.) I wept. Jesus wept with me and I felt it. 

It is important not to fight the tears when they come. For so long in my life I fought tears. I hid them. I suppressed them. I tired to eat food to keep them inside. I never wanted anyone see them. You see, I feel broken and weak when I weep and the thought of allowing anyone to see me that way was inconceivable. I have learned what a clever lie from the pit that way of thinking is. It left me broken. It left me alone. It left me wounded. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” How can I be comforted if I never allow anyone to comfort me?! 

This season is hard, this battle is real, but it is also littered with so much beauty. I am already finding so many treasures Daddy God has hidden for me during this season. I am experiencing an ever growing awareness of how loved I am, how incredible my family is, and how many amazing friends I have. I am also more and more aware of how much I have to be deeply grateful for. It is almost as if I was blind and now I see. Love is real and I am surrounded by it.

That is what God does you know? He surrounds you with goodness, joy, hope, beauty, kindness, faithfulness, peace, gentleness, redemption, restoration, life, light, and love. So. Much. Love.

I am so thankful. Life is beautiful. God is so deeply good.

Here is something to chew on besides turkey today: what are you not seeing in your life that you should be grateful for? What goodness has God put in your life that you don’t see? If you cannot see it ask Him to give you eyes to see. He is faithful and He will.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you all know how blessed you are.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

No Means No.

imageThere is a little boy in my class (we’ll call him “Davey”) who doesn’t seem to know what no means. In fact there are several kids in my class who need to be asked the question: “What does no mean?” at least once a day by me or one of the other teachers. Anyway, Davey has a particular problem with this word no. To Davey the word no seems to mean burst into tears and throw your body on the ground until the grownups give in to your every whim. It also seems to mean make an angry face, pout in the corner, negotiate, argue, kick the furniture, yell at your teacher and tell her she is not pretty… You get the picture. He doesn’t like to hear the word no.
In Davey’s defense he has come a long way in a short time and he is learning that when one of us says no we are not insulting his immortal soul, or rejecting his very being, we are just saying no. Some things that children think would be super fun would in fact maim, poison, or destroy them completely which would totally suck.
For example there are bushes that grow along the fence in the play area. These bushes are slightly toxic. Sometimes the children want to pick the berries, and leaves and eat them. We teachers say no to this activity as it could lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and a possible visit to the hospital to get your stomach pumped. Super fun! No. Also not as fun as it seems to a four year old: Running into the street! Look at all that wide open space to run!! Awesome!! NO!!! You see we grownups know that the cars that use those roads will run you over and destroy your body. Therefore running around in the street is not allowed.
I was seeking the Lord recently about something. It was something I wanted Him to say yes to, and I thought He would. I really didn’t expect Him to tell me no, but He did. In fact He told me no louder and stronger than He has ever told me no in my entire life. Not only did He tell me no, but He confirmed that no several times even though I did not ask Him to. It was a big fat no. Huge. Galactic. That no was hard to live out. In fact that no broke my heart, but I knew that it was something I could not ignore.
imageSometimes obeying God is hard. Sometimes I want to eat the poison berries because it just loos like it would taste good. I mean they are red! Red is sweet like strawberries! NO!!!! You will puke and die! Stop it!
I don’t know about you but sometimes when God tells me no I act like Davey. I freak the freak out! I have even been known to kick a couch or two. Okay maybe not literally, but still. I can see how there are so many times in the past both recent and distant where Abba being the good Daddy that He is, told me no and rather than accept it and move forward I negotiated, argued, kicked, screamed, etc, and basically threw a tantrum the size of Jupiter. Part of the reason I did this is because like Davey I didn’t understand. Another part of the reasons is that I can be a bit of a control freak. Yet another reason (and the biggest one at that) is that I felt rejected when God told me no. I thought no meant something else.
No means no. No dose not mean I don’t love you. No does not mean I don’t want you to be happy. No does not mean I do not want you to have fun. No does not mean I don’t want you to see your dreams come true. No dose not mean I want you to be shattered. No simply means no. No means I love you. No means I want you to be happy. No means I want you to have fun. No means I want your dreams to come true. No means I want you to be whole.
God can see the whole picture. God’s perspective is vast! He loves me more than any human being ever has or will. If God is saying no then there is a reason. I know God is good, so if He says no then that reason is good. Not only is that reason good but it is for my good! I don’t say no to my students because I am a jerk, I say no because I want them to remain healthy, alive, happy, and so they can learn. Honestly sometimes I say no because I am tried, or I have cramps, so maybe sometimes I am a little bit of a jerk, but I am human. Thankfully God is better by far than I.
No means no. Accept it. It is yet another way that God is a good Father.
No is love.
No means no.

©Rachel Anne Redfield 2015

Stuck

Do you ever feel stuck? Do you ever think that no matter how hard you try to move forward it just seems like you are spinning your wheels? I feel that way. All. The. Time.

Here’s the question I keep asking myself: Are you really stuck because you are actually stuck, or are you stuck because you aren’t really trying to move forward? In other words; maybe I am stuck because I am only doing enough “trying” to appear to be trying. If I appear to be trying I have an excuse or evidence that I am trying but I am not actually really for real trying to move forward.

I think that pretty much sums up the last decade of my life. I have been trying… sort of. I recently had someone who loves me tell me that I have the emotional maturity of someone in thier early twenties. This may not seem that bad, but I am in my early thirties. Ouch. I was hurt and slightly annoyed. I didn’t think that it was true. I shared this with a few people (like two) and they didn’t think that was a fair assessment of my maturity, but I have come to realize that in some ways that is quite accurate. I am pretty immature in some ways… perhaps even in many ways. Am I trying? Yes. Am I doing my best? No. No I am not.

The other day one of my students was working on a coloring page. He chose one color and wildly scribbled all over the page and then brought it to me. I asked him if he had done his best work, or if he had done his fastest work so he could go play with toys as fast as possible. He admitted to the latter. I then asked him to write his name, take his time and do his best work. He did. That was the first time he had written his whole name that I have ever seen. I was so proud of him!

This got me to thinking if when it comes to my emotional growth if I am doing my best work and taking my time, or just breezing through it as fast as possible so I can do other things. The problem with breezing through it is that the details get missed. When it comes to emotional maturity and character details matter a lot.

I think one of the reasons that I have been stuck is that I have refused to really let people in. I have been trying to do everything myself. I have been letting people in just enough that I could fake it. You know pretend that I am healthy when in truth I am not really as healthy as I want to appear.

I have realized that although I have been mentored and been through intense decsiplship I have never really dug deep. I haven’t really let anyone see the big terrible awful stuff I was terrified to let anyone see. The problem with that is that no one really knew me. Not letting anyone really see you has its benefits you know? That way when someone shares a truth with me that I don’t like I can just say, “Well they don’t really know me.” Or, “They don’t know everything, they don’t understand where I am coming from, or what I have been through.” It is a really convenient way to lie to myself. If I never fully open up then I always have this clever little cushion to lay my head to delude myself. That way I am thinking I am doing pretty good when in fact I am knee deep, stuck in the muck of emotional turmoil. Emotional turmoil sucks.

Very recently I went through a really dark time and I  descended into madness. I self medicated, and withdrew from all the people who love me the most. Then I got involved with somethings I shouldn’t have and made a pretty decent mess. I realized that I was in over my head and I asked for help. I was afraid to ask for help. That is not my traditional way of approaching life crisis but this was a pretty epic mess and I thought I needed a different approach.

With this trial I didn’t pull away. This time even though I was embarrassed and dare I say even humiliated and felt very foolish I went to church. I faced my friends even though life had flung mud on me and I was lower than ever I experienced love like never before.

As I wept my eyes out I was held, and others wept with me. I was quite literally surrounded and comforted. I was prayed for over and over even though all I had done was stand there and weep. It was amazing. I have realized through this trail how much I am loved. Like real, in your face, deep, pure, sturdy love. I have been supported, encouraged, and bathed in prayer.

A few days later I did something I thought once to be impossible. I shared my big terrible awful pain with two dear friends. I was afraid to open my heart and let them see the wound there. I was afraid that the ugliness of how it felt would be too much. I thought that if I told them it would change how they saw me, or worse that they would love me less. They didn’t. They embraced me in my deepest darkest hurt and loved me, cried and prayed with me and told me I am not alone. It changed me. That moment did something to my heart that has never happened to it before. The light of God’s love began to shine in what was before the darkest place with in me.

I feel different. I feel stronger. I feel a need to rise up from all that I have been stuck in and allow others to help me grow beyond the pain and turmoil. I want to be made whole. I want to allow God to work through these amazing things called relationships and allow my heart to be free of the shackles that have entained it for so long. Trusting people is  scary but it is the only way to really heal from some wounds, maybe even most wounds. I suppose I could do it alone, but so far it seems to be the long way. Also going it alone is, well lonely. God never meant for us to do this thing called life alone. Through this trail I have learned that I am not alone. I have an incredible family, and extended family.

I have amazing people in my life and I am grateful. My heart is still broken, but it is healing. Let people in. It will change your life.

Cafe’

Can you imagine how it feels to be sitting alone in a cafe’? 

All the couples. All the families sitting together chatting. I sit alone with my breakfast and my coffee with… my iPhone.

I watch young men and women carrying two mugs to thier tables. I carried one. 

I don’t want to carry one anymore. 

Recently I got a small taste of what it would be like to share my life with someone. He turned out to be a liar, but still there were aspects of my time with him that I miss. I knew I was single before. I felt single before, but now I feel… Like an island in a sea of happy couples. I feel alone. 

I know I have many people who love me, and I am not really alone. Still I sit here in this cafe’ alone. I will walk into church here in a few minutes alone. I will eat dinner tonight alone. I will go on my walk this evening alone. I am sad.

I know that, that relationship was not the best for me. I know that everyone believes that there is something better out there for me. I want to believe it too. I want it to be true. 

I am going to choose to trust my loved ones more than I trust myself and believe that it is true even though right now it feels so impossible. 

I am going to finish my mocha and go to church and sing praises to my maker with everything I have in me. I won’t sing because life is perfect, but because even though I have a broken heart God is still so very good. Even though I am alone (so to speak) God is still good. Even though I am sad God is still good. Even though I am single God is good. 

It is well with my soul. 

-R. 

 ©Rachel Anne Redfiel 2015